Speed reading is exactly what it sounds like: the ability to read very quickly. Individuals who have developed this ability are claimed to be able to read over 1,200 words per minute. To give you a general idea, that is approximately the equivalent of being able to read a standard book within 20 minutes.
How does speed reading work?
When we read, we don’t look at every individual letter of every individual word. We sometimes even skip words. This is most common with short words such as articles (a/an/the). We just flow right over them since we presume where they are located. We use our peripheral vision to read, and as you are reading this text, you can probably notice your eyes being fixed at specific parts of each line, but not really on every individual letter or word.
Speed reading occurs when you lower the number and duration of the points where you stop to look. If you are more curious about how the speed reading process works in detail, be sure to look it up as it is rather extensive.
We can all read fast, but do we absorb?
Yes, everyone can read at a rapid pace. You can try re-reading this entire article as quickly as possible and you’ll probably reach a very high number of words read, but you will hardly comprehend it. When you are reading something you enjoy, you most likely don’t focus on the speed of reading but rather take your time to truly progress the story gradually and enjoy every sentence.
Speed reading eliminates this luxury because you are forcing your comprehension to keep up with the speed of reading. Speed reading is hardly a breeze and it demands a great deal of brain power, especially when you are just learning it.
The truth about speed reading though is that as the speed of reading increases, the comprehension drops. Of course, practice can probably enhance both, but rest assured speed reading is a very demanding task. For one, you might be able to read normally without much strain, paying attention to your surroundings at the same time. With speed reading, you must fully focus on the task otherwise you won’t remember anything.
Use apps to learn speed reading
Speed reading has gotten enough attention to have a bunch of useful apps developed to help you master this useful but challenging ability.
The apps work in several different ways to help you learn speed reading, but it all mainly boils down to directing your sight to read words at a specific pace. Before any apps existed, one of the suggested methods for speed reading was using your finger to guide you as you read. This forces you to keep moving at a specific pace, as opposed to maybe pausing out of curiousity when reading without any guiding tool.
As they get more and more perfected, speed reading apps teach you in various ways and here are some of them you should definitely check out if you are interested in speed reading.